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General Tso's Baked Cauliflower

NO, I am not going to turn this into a recipe blog. But quite a few of you asked me for this recipe, so deal. I'll make it worth your while. Promise.

I've been a vegetarian for nearly three years now. People always ask me if I "miss meat"and honestly, I really don't.1 Excepting General Tso's Chicken.

The faint memory of that sticky-sweet, spicy chicken has haunted my dreams for one thousand and one nights. Every time I close my eyes, I am transported to the Peking Buffet, where my mother has taken us for lunch; any weekday free of school was always excuse enough to head to the Peking Buffet. We would load up our plates with Honey Chicken, Almond Chicken, General Tso's, and maybe a deep-fried egg roll or two because hey, vegetables are important. And then we'd eat all of that and go back for seconds.2 An hour later, we'd drive home, collapse on whichever horizontal surface first made itself available, and take a three-hour nap. And come the next Professional Development Day, we'd return.

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Now, several iterations into a healthier lifestyle, the glory days of all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets are behind mebut I heard a rumor on the Internet that some people are making General Tso's-style cauliflower . Praise be.

Problem is, every recipe I came across called for deep-frying the cauliflower. Don't get me wrong, deep-friend cauliflower is frakkin' deliciousbut not exactly a health-conscious meal. Oh, and also, I recently gave up gluten, refined sugar, and most dairy on a whim (for other ridiculous decisions I've made on a whim, see here and here).

So yes, ladies and gentleman, I have conquered the impossibleand you shall reap the benefits. With no further ado,3 the recipe for mind-blowingly-good, just-as-good-as-takeout, my-entire-apartment-smells-like-a-Chinese-restaurant General Tso's Baked Cauliflower. Gluten-free, totally vegan, with no refined sugars. BAM. You can thank me later.

General Tso's Baked Cauliflower

Serves 2-3

3-3.5 cups raw cauliflower florets

4 tbsp gluten-free all-purpose baking flour (I tried several different breading options, and trust me, this works bestI used Bob's Red Mill)

3 tbsp olive oil

3/4 cup water

3 tbsp low-sodium, gluten-free soy sauce

3 tbsp sherry

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

3 tbsp honey (if you don't eat honey, you can substitute agave or even molasses)

3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1/2 tbsp chili paste (nom nom)

Green onions and toasted sesame seeds for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut any larger cauliflower florets into smaller pieces (about 1.5 wide). Put florets into a large ziploc bag. Add olive oil and shake. (Hey, I never said this was a technically-impressive recipe.)

2. Gradually introduce flour to bag, shaking as you go. You want the breading to stay moist without any visible areas of dry flour. Once you've accomplished this, remove individual florets from bag with a fork and arrange in a single layer in a glass baking dish. You should also probably spray that dish with cooking spray or drizzle a little olive oil in it before you resign your cauliflower to a cruel, sticky death.

3. Pop 'em in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until tender and golden brown and buttery and wonderful and ugh.

4. Meanwhile, combine water, soy sauce, sherry, and vinegar in a small saucepan on low heat. When warm, add honey, garlic, and chili paste. Simmer on medium-low heat until sauce thickens. Pro tip: if your honey isn't incorporating into the sauce, you need a larger saucepan. If your sauce still refuses to thicken, gradually introduce a few teaspoons of cornstarch. Be careful, though, because I already ruined a batch by trading patience for too much cornstarch. It basically turned into jello. Do not turn your sauce into jello.

5. Once your cauliflower is appropriately wonderful-looking, add about 2/3 of your delicious sauce to the baking dish and carefully stir until cauliflower is coated. Resist urge to put face into pan. Put it back into the oven and broil for 5-10 minutes or until cauliflower starts making happy sizzle noises. Careful here, too, because it turns out shit can burn fast.

6. Add remainder of sauce to cauliflower and stir. Painstakingly arrange cauliflower on plate until you have the perfect Instagram angle. Top with toasted sesame seeds and green onion, because duh. Take bite. Pat self on back. Shower Lindsay with gifts for opening your eyes to this magical dish. You're welcome.

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Posted in Cleaning Services Post Date 11/12/2017


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